History Is a Guide in Selecting Name for Faculty and Staff Housing Community

Posted: December 18, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

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Expectant parents have the option to simply open a baby name book and choose one they like. But naming a building at a university requires a much more comprehensive process.

Last summer, Mason re-established the Naming Committee, chaired by Vice President for University Relations Christine LaPaille, to guide the sometimes complicated process of naming buildings, streets and other landmarks on campus.

A similar committee existed several years ago but fell by the wayside when naming opportunities tapered. Over the last few years, however, Mason’s three campuses have grown tremendously, and nameless building projects abound.

One of the most notable of these projects under way is the faculty and staff housing community in the northeast section of Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

After much consideration, the committee agreed upon the name “Masonvale” for the new community. The idea for the name, which has historical roots, was raised by committee member Tom Moncure, university counsel.

Moncure, a Mason history enthusiast, says the appendage of “vale” is derived from George Mason I, great grandfather of the university’s namesake, George Mason IV. George I was from the Village of Pershore in an agricultural region known as the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, England.

To unify the naming theme within Masonvale, the names “Pershore” and “Evesham” will be used as street names for the community. Other street names will be “Bredon Hill,” “Cotswolds Hill” and “Staffordshire.” All are regions of Old Worcestershire where many of Mason’s ancestors once resided.

“It was almost by happenstance that I was able to come up with enough places in Worcestershire to name all of the streets,” Moncure says. “It was important that we maintained a consistent naming scheme for this discrete neighborhood. This is just a small way to add more historical aspects to our campus.”

The Masonvale development will consist of 155 townhomes situated on 27 acres of campus. About 50 of the homes should be ready for occupancy by fall 2009. The remaining units will be completed using a staggered timeline within the following year to ensure full occupancy and continual turnover.

The homes will be used primarily to attract and retain new faculty to Mason. Tenants will be selected through a university priority system. First priority will be given to new tenure, tenure-track or research faculty. Rental rates will be set at approximately 90 percent of market value to ease the sticker shock for new faculty looking to purchase a home.

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